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Rice’s James Tour wins Feynman Prize

Foresight Institute honors professor for nanotechnology breakthroughs

James Tour, the inventor of the  nanocar at Rice University, has been awarded the prestigious Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for experimental nanotechnology for 2008 by the California think tank dedicated to the beneficial implementation of nanotechnology.

Tour was  one of four nominees for the prize, specifically for his work on the synthesis of nanocars, molecule-sized vehicles with buckyball wheels that served as an experiment to explore the possibility of building working machines at such a scale. 

The prize, first awarded in 1993, is named for the late physicist Richard P. Feynman, who introduced the concept of nanotechnology in a famous talk in 1959 called “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.” 

“I can’t say I was influenced by Feynman, because I got involved in nanotechnology before I even knew who he was,” said Tour, Rice’s Chao Professor of Chemistry, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and professor of computer science. “But I know he was influential, and I liked his book.”

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